Why Flipping Is Better This Spring

Out of The Box January 20 / January 28, 2020

– Patricia Pence – 

Last spring semester, the thought of developing engaging group space activities for the 15 weeks of my new course was daunting. Sure, I was thankful that there were traditional lecture power points and several participation point activities provided by the previous nurse educator. Even as a “newbie” to teaching the course, and the sole “flipper” in this nursing college, I could not resort to lecturing for the entire class. Flipping is engrained in my teaching practice! But after hours spent thinking of how to creatively bring life to lessons for a pathophysiology and pharmacology course, I began to question why I made the transition to academia at a university when I had settled comfortably into teaching my established flipped courses during my tenure at a community college.

Fast forward

After teaching the new course during the summer and fall semesters, my group space lessons were developed and have been tweaked each time as I learn what strategies best promote learning and facilitate engagement in class with my students. I now find that my time is better spent this spring reexamining my course and reviewing the group space lessons for whether they are properly aligned with the Global Standards of Effective Flipped Learning (GEEFL). These standards form the foundation for planning your course, including creating effective active learning strategies for the group space. Time in the group space is when I especially enjoy teaching and have the time to cultivate the first GEEFL element R, which is positive relationships with students.

The big barrier

However, creating and developing active strategies (GEEFL element As) to replace a traditional lecture class can be very time-consuming for any educator at first, whether you are new to Flipped Learning or an experienced flipper like myself. Dr. Thomas Mennella, an Associate Professor at Bay Path University in Massachusetts, states “The biggest obstacle is what to do with your time with students in class once you free up class time.” I struggled through a period of trial and error the first time before realizing what could have been done better; not knowing how long the lesson would take, and whether the chosen strategy or technology best suited the purpose for the lesson. What if there were effective, evidenced-based active learning lesson plans already available for educators?

The 3.0 Exchange

The concept of sharing lessons created by other educators is not new. The Internet is laden with an abundance of free and for-a-fee teaching resources offered by experts in academia who may not be certified in Flipped Learning. The Flipped Learning Global Initiative (FLGI) had the insightful vision and goal of supporting educators with credible evidenced-based resources that meet the GEEFL standards. The resources are created by educators certified in Flipped Learning and are published on The 3.0 Exchange website. What also makes these resources stand out from the crowd is that they are peer-reviewed for alignment with the GEEFL standards. Each resource lists what GEEFL standard(s) is/are met. Why not try some of the resources published on The 3.0 Exchange and avoid the trial and error with creating your own lesson plans?

Resources for medical fields

Dr. Thomas Mennella, Martha Vrana-Bossart, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Southern Maine Community College, and I are tasked with expanding The 3.0 Exchange resources to support educators in the life science, health care and medical fields. We welcome anyone else who would like to join our team. If you are experienced in Flipped Learning and would like to share your resources on The 3.0 Exchange site, or collaborate to create new easy-to-implement resources, we would like to hear from you. For anyone who is new to Flipped Learning, we would like to hear what resources would best help you get started. Happy New Year and best wishes for a wonderful Spring Semester!


Patricia Pence
Patricia Pence
Dr. Patricia Pence is an Assistant Professor at Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University. She was previously a professor in the nursing program at Illinois Valley Community College, Illinois, USA, for over 17 years. Her clinical nursing practice spanned over 28 years as a staff nurse in constant care, medical-surgical, home health, extended-care, and as a director of nursing in long-term care facilities. In 2013 Dr. Pence transformed her nursing classes from lecture to flipped learning. Since then Dr. Pence published her flipped learning strategies in the Teaching and Learning in Nursing journal. She was a guest blogger and coauthor of a textbook for nurse educators that was published in, TEACH students to THINK like a nurse: Transformational strategies that will PREPARE students for PRACTICE. She enjoys sharing her flipped learning strategies with other nurse educators at conferences across the US and in publications on flipped learning in nursing education.

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